(old version) The Even Deeper Meaning of Liff

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*** NOTE *** This page has now been superseded by "The Even Deeper Meaning of Liff - The Saga Continues" which can be found at A846065


For those of you who are unaware of The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, they're books. Good books. Funny books. Books that are described by the following delightful bit of jacket blurb:

Does the sensation of Tingrith1 make you yelp? Do you bend sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny2? Can you deal with a Naugatuck3 without causing a Toronto4? Will you suffer from Kettering5 this summer? Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all these experiences, but just didn't know that there are words for them. Well, in fact, there aren't - or rather there weren't, until Douglas Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic lacunae6 by getting a few beers and a notebook and sitting on the beach for a couple of weeks. They quickly realised that just as there are an awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are a lot of awful names if places you will never need to go to. What a waste. What a terrible, senseless waste of the linguistic resources this planet. Did you know that at the current rate at which new places and things are being generated, we will exhaust all possible names for them by the year 2015?7

This guide is the perfect place to continue Douglas and John's efforts to make the signposts of the world more meaningful and fun, so if you like to have an en try considerd for inclusion in this, The Even Deeper Meaning of Liff, please start a conversation below with your definition. Don't forget that the words have to be genuine place names - and no plagarising the originals, please. That would be very, very naughty.

"See Liff" means a reference to the original Liff books.

Achnaha (vb.) To suddenly spot that a large hairy spider has crawled up your leg, or is constructing a web between your knees. Achnacloich (vb.) A panic-stricken lunge to knock off the spider that has just been spotted in the Achnaha (qv). Achnagarron (n.) The feeling of horror upon realising that the Achnacloich (qv) has only succeeded in sending the spider scurrying for cover into your nether-garments. Adbolton (n.) A patch that you have to download from the Internet in order to get a program to actually do what it said it would do on the box. Addlethorpe (vb.) To try and confuse someone who is drunk/half asleep by messing with their perception of time and space. Ailby (n.) An Ulceby (qv) who specialises in non-fatal but chronic complaints.Alfold Crossways (n.) The latticework of lines and creases left on a letter by failed attempts at folding it to fit the envelope, which show the recipient that you are quite capable of making a complete mess of a simple job like folding a piece of paper. Allerton (n.) A person who appears to be allergic to absolutely everything and everybody. Altcreich (n.) The sound effect used when a cartoon character is speeding towards the edge of a cliff, rooftop, etc, but is unable to stop. (See also: Zigong, Liff.) Altofts (n.) Springy bits of hair that no matter which way you comb them pop up again as soon as you turn away from the mirror. Apperknowle (n.) A schoolboy who can tell you the exact location of all the spy-holes into the girls showers and changing rooms. Ardechive (n. Technical, Computing) A compressor "utility" which saves 0.01% of your disk space whilst making your files 300% more difficult to get at. Ardentinny (n.Technical, Alt. Usage See Liff) A die-hard hi-fi fanatic who still swears that CDs will never catch on because they will never sound quite as good as a vinyl LP played through a proper valve amp. Ardminish (n.) A one-note guitar chord favoured by thrash-metal practitioners on the grounds that Harmonic Intervals are for wimps. Asgarby (n.) Expression used by drunk people when expressing doubt or disbelief.Ashbocking (vb.) A lengthy procedure undertaken by old steam-engine drivers after a day's work, whereby they, or their wife, would attempt to pick all the bits of coal, clinker and accumulated smutts out of their nose, ears, eyebrows, hair, teeth, gums, etc. Ashby Puerorum (n.) One who prefaces every utterance with "In my day...". Ashcombe (n.) An implement used during Ashbocking (qv). Ashmansworth (n.) The little mound of muck collected after a thorough Ashbocking (qv). In a symbolic act of rebellion against the job, some drivers would mix the Ashmansworth with a bit of pipe-tobacco and smoke it. Ashwicken (n.) Commencement of the Smethwick (qv) season. Asserby (n.) Expression used by even more drunk people when refuting the Asgarby (qv).Attercliffe (n.) A hill or rock-face that is just asking to be climbed up. Badgeworth (n.) A boy-scout so proficient that his uniform now consists entirely of badges sewn together end-to-end. Bainshole (n.) Scottish version of a Littleton Pannell (qv). Balnapaling (vb.) The English occupation of dozing off whilst watching the cricket. 85% of a test-match audience will, on average, be balnapaling. Baltasound (n.) Collective term for the chaotic din that emanates from car repair workshops. (The exact composition of Baltasound varies, but normally includes a certain amount of battering with hammers, rending of metal, revving of dying engines, and the whining of various pumps, drills and dissatisfied customers, plus at least one painfully loud and distorted transistor radio and two or more macho mechanics shouting, blaspheming and passing wind ad lib.) Bapchild (n.) One who is just asking to be thumped. Bardney (n.) Punchable manner adopted by people who consider themselves poets. Bargoed (vb.) Forced against one's will into buying the next round. Barton Bendish (n.) The person whose fault it always is that what starts off as a "quick pint" ends up as a marathon pub-crawl. Barton In The Beans (n.) The mysterious ingredient in baked beans responsible for their legendary intestinal gas generating powers. It is estimated that if chemists ever succeed in synthesising pure "barton", then there will be an awful lot of people wishing that they hadn't. Barwick In Elmet (n. Archaic) In Arthurian legend, a lusty knight who is undergoing a voluntary period of chastity in order to work up a keen sense of anger before a battle. The "elmet" refers to the special headgear which was worn to indicate to the general populace that this person is not in a good mood and should be given as wide a berth as possible. Beaver Green (n.) That part of the park which is favoured by secretaries for sunbathing in the lunch hour (and therefore not uncoincidentally favoured by the male office population as well). Belchford (n.) A young man's flat on a Friday night when he's got a few of his mates in to watch the television.Benniworth (n.) Someone so eager to be your friend that you can't help loathing them.Bickerstaffe (n. Archaic. See Liff For Modern Usage) A ceremonial wooden pole that was kept in medieval villages for the purpose of settling disputes between argumentative women. Basically, they were each given a Bickerstaffe and then left to beat the crap out of each other. Billinge (n.) Collective term for the mundane drivel to be found in letters between penfriends who have absolutely nothing in common, yet neither of whom can bring themselves to be the first to stop replying to the other's increasingly pointless letters. Bilsby (n.) Deeply stupid name given by a celebrity to their child. Bingley (n.) Cheerfully insane as a result of incessant Bingo playing. Typical usage: "Poor old soul, she's gone bingley you know". Birdlip (n.) Swinging 60's term for the verbal abuse received from one's girlfriend when the bottoms of one's flares failed to meet the regulation circumference. Biscathorpe (n.) Collection of old patterned tins on top of your grandmother’s fridge. Bishop's Nympton (n.) A secret device used by the clergy for discreetly scratching itchy bits under the cassock during long services. Blundellsands (n.) Areas of coastal sand dunes which, from a distance, look perfectly clean, but which upon actually reaching them are found to be full of litter, broken bottles, used condoms and pools of stagnant green water full of dead frogs. Bodfari (n.) A daring and reckless expedition into Wales, particularly on a Bank Holiday. Bo'ness (vb.) That irresistible desire to nod off whilst one is having a haircut. Boohay (vb.) Unsure whether to laugh or cry. Boston (n.) At a loss what to do after you've finished.Bran End (n.) Medical condition characterised by posterior discomfort. Caused by the consumption of far too much roughage. Branston (n.) Someone who perpetually fails to achieve a task such as swimming the channel, climbing Everest or making Yorkshire puddings rise. Bromborough (n.) A motor-cyclist who takes great pleasure in sneaking up behind people and suddenly revving up very loudly. Burwell (n.) Unconvincing and badly-worded counter-argument.Bulpham (n.) The b*****d who sneaks into the park at night and digs up all the daffodil bulbs for his own garden. Butterbump (n.) The twinge of fear experienced when simultaneously reading a health article and eating a bacon sandwich.Buttonoak (n.) One who walks around all day oblivious to the fact that they have fastened their jumper or coat Cardurnock-style (qv). Bwlchgwyn (n. Onomatopoeic) The sound made by one's stomach when a large pocket of wind decides that it's time to move. Cadwell (n.) Smoothly executed piece of deception or dastardly behaviour by an aristocrat.Caerphilly (n.) A suspiciously over-helpful male nurse. Calcethorpe (n.) A scathing comment made on the basis of a personal disagreement that bewilders everyone listening, forcing them to ignore it.Cardurnock (n.) A man who habitually fastens all the buttons on his cardigan one-out-of-step with the holes. Cherry Willingham (n.) Behaviour adopted by a teenage girl when seeing how far her male friends will go to try and impress her.Claxby Pluckacre (n.) Ancient punishment bestowed on a woman by her husband if she was found to be suffering from venereal disease.Clinkham Wood (n.) The material from which Morris Dancers make their Whiffling Sticks. Great care is taken in selecting only wood with the right acoustic properties. This is traditionally done by a select band of Morris Men entering a consecrated forest on the first night of the full moon during the month immediately prior to the vernal equinox and gently tapping on the trunks of mature oaks with a bent silver teaspoon whilst whistling "The Floral Dance" in F sharp minor. If nobody laughs, the tree is deemed suitable. Congleton (n.) A metal tray dropped onto a kitchen floor at 3 or 4am, the resounding clang from which echoes around the neighbourhood waking everybody up. The recommended position to adopt during this is with hands clenched on top of the head and eyes tightly shut. Conscience Hill (n.) U.S. equivalent of moral high ground.Crosby (vb.) To feel somehow cheated by the fact that although you have hundreds of channels of cable TV to choose from, you can now find fewer programmes actually worth watching than when you only had four. Crossens (n.) An affliction of the eyeballs caused by trying to make sense of drawings by M.C.Escher. Cumberworth (n.) One who starts complaining even before he’s been asked to do something. Dalby (n.) British-made innovation in sound-processing software, used by Railtrack in all stations.Dalderby (adj.) Describes the behaviour of someone who has been Addlethorped (qv). Diggle (n.) To procrastinate as to where exactly to plant a row of peas. Erdington (n.) A person who knows full well the end of the witty story you are relating but allows you to carry on anyway so that he can pre-empt the punch line and deflate you in front of all your friends. Farforth (n.) A pseudonym adopted by a devotee of fantasy games and Internet chat sites. Farnworth (n.) An olfactory measure, defined as the amount of farmyard smell that is sufficient to convince day-trippers that they are "out in the country", but not enough to actually make them be ill all over the coach. Fiskerton (n.) Someone who would put on a tie even if they were confined to their bed all day. Flyford Flavell (n.) An apprentice member of a TV studio floor-crew whose job it is to check that everyone's flies are done up before going on-camera. Friskney (adj.) Desperate to leave the house and do something. Frithville (vb.) To annoy people by chivvying them along. Gayton-le-Marsh (n.) A member of the upper house whom the public feel is long overdue a lurid tabloid exposé. Gillmoss (n.) The ever-thickening viscous green sludge in which pet goldfish have to live because their owners are too stupid to ever think of changing the water. Gowthams (pl.n.) Surly old men who take offence at your presence in their pub.Grantham (n.) Bold, sweeping and entirely untrue statement uttered by a right-wing politician.Grassendale (n.) A residential home for retired pot-heads. Great Sankey (n.) The final resting place of model boats and yachts, i.e. the bottom of the local park lake. Great Steeping (n.) An archaic exclamation used by headmasters and the clergy. Great Yarmouth (n.) The first, jaw-dislocating yawn of the day. Grebby (n.) Someone who, upon visiting, is followed by someone wielding a mop, dustpan, air freshener and flea spray.Grimoldby (adj.) Descriptive of the tone of voice used when someone's telling you how fortunate you are to be young.Halsnead (n.) The latent period in a Newsham (qv) during which the sneeze is gathering momentum and deciding when is the most inconvenient moment to re-erupt. Harrington (n.) The disapproving glare bestowed by two or more old women on a group of young people enjoying themselves noisily. Hightown (n.) An urban area containing more than its fair share of pot-heads per square mile. High Toynton (adj.) Descriptive of the tone of voice employed by a female during an argument when they're daring you to say something reasonable in a calm, unflustered voice.Hogsbeck (n.) Initiation ritual performed on new apprentices in pork pie factories.Hogsthorpe (n.) Any domicile in the kitchen of which there are no cooking utensils except for a frying pan. Horncastle (n.) The paradise to which virgin warriors hope to go when they die.Horsington (n.) Acting style used by women playing aristocrats in period dramas.Hoylake (n.) A specially-constructed pond at the back of naval colleges, where trainees are sent to practise ship-to-ship shouting (a much sought-after skill in the event of loss of radio contact at sea). Hundleby (n.) Ominous and disapproving ancient saying made up on the spot by your mother when you mention that you want to do anything. Ingoldmells (pl.n.) Collective noun for the assortment of strangeware sported by grandmothers on their mantelpieces. Inverquharity (vb.) The terrible urge to laugh during occasions that demand dignified silence. The ability to suppress the urge is inversely proportional to the solemnity of the occasion. Inverquhomery (n.) Grovelling apologies made afterwards to atone for one's Inverquharity (qv). Irby-in-the-Marsh (n.) Illegal pastime of Norfolk farmers.Ketsby (n.) Skittish behaviour adopted by a Miningsby (qv). Leake Common Side (n.) Practice pursued at the turn of New Leake (qv) where the men of the village spend twenty-four hours performing all bodily functions in public. Legbourne (n.) One who insists on walking whatever the weather.Liscard (n.) A person who spends more time cataloguing, classifying and cross-indexing his CD collection than actually listening to it. Nowadays, most Liscards use a home computer, but the name originates from the days when it was all done with card-indexes. Litherland (n.) The name of a shop that sells nothing but different types of soap. Little Altcar (n.) A type of scruffy kid that lives in car parks and offers to "mind your car for you mister?", which roughly translates as "give me 50p or you'll never see your hub caps again". Little Bongs (n.) A play-school and creche for the children of pot-heads. Little Cawthorpe (n.) A childhood associate, charming to your mother, but evil incarnate elsewhere.Littleton Pannel (n.) A slightly larger version of a cat-flap, designed to allow small children access to and from the garden without having to bother the parents. (See also: Bainshole.) Long Eaton (n.) A late-night malingerer of the sort that the staff of restaurants wish would bloody well finish their meal and go home so that they can. Ludford Magna (n.) The head male of a monied family. Ludford Parva (n.) The youngest offspring of the Ludford Magna (qv) who stands to inherit the family debt. Lusby (n.) The talk with which a man tries to persuade his partner to wake up but not get out of bed on a Sunday morning.Lydiate (n.) Somebody who is so stupid that they are unable to grasp just how abysmally stupid they really are. Madeley (n.) A girl who makes it quite clear to everybody by her demeanour that she is only out on a date with this idiot because her so-called "friends" arranged it for her. Manby (adj.) Descriptive of the style of writing used in Loaded magazine. Maufant (vb.) Having the uneasy feeling that Woody Allen is about to release another film. Mawthorpe (n.) The conservatory of an old peoples’ home on a Sunday afternoon after dinner when they sleep with heads back and mouths agape. Medlam (n.) An old London hospital for silly people; slight disorganisation. Metheringham (n.) Someone who studies the art of wasting time. Miningsby (n.) A male music or film star whose mainstay involves trying to make people question his sexuality.Minting (ptcpl.vb.) Searching for sweets in the trouser pockets so frenetically that people suspect you of doing something else.Moreton (vb.) Cringeingly afraid of tightening a new guitar string any further in case it snaps. Muckton (n.) A communal student kitchen in an all-male flat. Mumby (adj.) Of your girlfriend’s voice when talking about babies, that she wishes you to respond positively.Newburgh (vb.) To bestow a fresh name upon a place in the hope that it will fool the public into forgetting whatever vile event took place there, e.g. Windscale became Sellafield after the radiation leaks and Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd for political reasons. New Leake (n.) The beginning of the Welsh harvest season. Newsham (n.) A sneeze that nearly happens, goes away for a bit, then returns with renewed vigour just when you're least expecting it. Newshams account for some 50% of Page Moss (qv). (See also: Halsnead.) Newton-by-Toft (n.) An ancient method of public humiliation. Nunsfield (n.) Any place in which you feel guilty after swearing. Old Leake (n.) Official title of the senior Welshman in a village. Ormsby (n.) The tone of voice used by maths professors, headmasters, clergy, and old politicians that signifies that any forthcoming speech will be immensely boring.Overstowey (n.) The sort of person who keeps a 5-year supply of frozen food in the cellar just in case we're invaded by Martians. Page Moss (n. Collective) The unidentifiable discolourations and stains in library books which make you wonder what the hell the previous borrowers were eating, drinking or doing whilst reading it. (See also: Newsham.) Partney (n.) Closing-time bartering ritual in which a pint of ale is purchased by a crony in exchange for four cigarettes. Penketh (vb.) Involuntary chewing or nibbling at the tops of pens and pencils during deep thought or serious pondering. Watson, writing of Holmes: "it was clearly a three-pencil problem". Poulton-Cum-Spittle (n.) A publishing house specialising in books on the history, design and manufacture of ceramic urinals and spittoons. Pumpherston (n.) One who feels the need to plump up all the cushions in the room before they can settle down to do anything else. Quakers Yard (n.) The corner of the garden that fills up with retching drunks towards the tail end of a party. Rochdale (n.) A retirement-home for pot-heads, similar to Grassendale (see above), but covering the North of England (a third home, "Dunspliffin", is situated in Scotland). Rushock (n.) That part of a horror film where the slow/lumbering/limping monster/alien/psychopath unexpectedly leaps out in front of the victim, who despite running much faster for the past half-hour has apparently gained no ground whatsoever. Ruskington (n.) Behavioural trait in which a childless person will stare in disbelief at the baby-food shelf in a supermarket for minutes before waking up and moving on. St Cleer (n.) The patron saint of catalytic convertors. St Helens (n.) The patron saint of volcanoes. St Michaels (n.) The patron saint of underwear. St Pauls Cray (n.) A little-known early mechanical calculating device, pre-dating Babbage's "difference engine" by several centuries, but never developed further because for some reason it worked in Base 13 using Reverse Sideways Polish Notation and gave the answer in Roman Numerals. Rusper (n.) One who is skilled in the art of opening packets of sweets very quietly inside their pocket so that they don't have to share them with anyone. Sausthorpe (n.) Where actors in British 1960s "sex comedies" go when they die.Scamblesby (n.) Someone whose brain has been dragged through a hedge backwards. Shoeburyness (n. Of Animals, See Liff For Other Usage) A mood that comes over domestic dogs, whereby they feel compelled to carry off your possessions and bury them in the flower bed. Skendleby (n.) Someone who knows, to the nearest ha’penny, how much money he is owed by other people. Sleaford (n.) British weather during any public holiday. Sloothby (n.) A besuited man who knows the location of every mirrored surface on his way to work. Smethwick (n.) A game invented by entertainment-starved monks. The winner is the one who can snuff out the most candles using only their tongue. South Elkington (n.) Proper title of an expatriate Canadian moose-wrangler. Standish (vb.) To be lingering at the foot of the stairs with the TV-remote in one hand, about to go to bed, but unable to actually go because you keep finding just one more interesting item to watch. Some people have been known to watch entire movies whilst caught in a Standish condition. Others have been discovered the next morning, still there, insisting that "just another five minutes" and they'll be off to bed. Stoneley (vb.) Wistfully desirous of giving up one's job and going off to live in a Stoneycroft (qv). Stoneycroft (n.) The sort of picturesque rural cottage that looks idyllic on a postcard, but which to those who actually have to live in it is a cold, damp, decaying pile of bug-infested rubble. Strubby (n.) Small but powerful men under 5'3" who insist on demonstrating their strength at every opportunity.Surfleet (vb.) Able to receive far more satellite-TV channels than you could ever possibly have a use for. Sutton Leach (n.) A person who maintains that they don't like or even understand computer games, yet who upon being introduced to one won't let anyone else get near it for the next ten hours. "Tetris" on the Gameboy is particularly prone to Sutton Leaches. Tathwell (n.) One who disapproves of everything. Tetford (n.) The snappy teacher at your primary school that later left to become a prison officer. Thimbleby (n.) One who collects imaginary things. Thingwall (n.) A brick wall which stands entirely on its own in the middle of nowhere, has been there for as long as anyone can remember, serves no purpose whatsoever, but is never, ever, pulled down. Most towns in Britain have at least one Thingwall, usually a vestigial fragment of some larger structure long since demolished, which has somehow survived, and is now meticulously maintained by the council whilst all around it falls into decay. Thirlspot (n.) The place where a domestic cat, in deference to inherited ancestral urges, turns around three times to flatten the grass before it settles down, even though it is quite clearly standing on solid concrete. Thurlby (n.) Someone whose idea of lighthearted conversation is discussing bowel complaints.Tifty (vb.) Just bursting to have a pointless argument about something completely irrelevant for no reason whatsoever. Tranmere (n. Collective) The stampede of people trying to get out of the cinema the instant the credits start to roll. Trewalder (vb.) To involuntarily lurch about while playing joystick-controlled computer games. (See also: Imber, Liff.) Trewoon (vb.) To Trewalder (qv) to such an extent that you fall off the chair, e.g. when banking in a flight simulator. Tumby (n.) Someone so fat you can’t help staring at their stomach when talking to them. Tumby Woodside (n.) Area of forest required to construct the coffin for a dead Tumby (qv). Ulceby (n.) One who studies newspapers and magazines for news of innovative new illnesses of which they can claim to be dying.Ulceby-with-Fordington (n.) Friend of an Ulceby (qv) who reads medical journals and can go one better.Wallasey (vb.) Descriptive of the depleted state of a church organist who has just played the whole of Bach's Toccata in D minor at twice the normal speed because he misread the tempo at the beginning. Welsdale Bottom (n.) Characteristic feature of medieval Yorkshire fertility symbols. Welton-le-Wold (n.) A plummy-voiced actor who is understood by no-one when he gives interviews. Wem (n.) Permanent thin-ness of the lips brought about by sucking too many lemons. Wispington (n.) One who can’t exhale cigarette smoke without some form of embellishment. Wood Enderby (n.) Someone who dies from a Viagra overdose.Woodhall Spa (n.) 24-hour shop selling posh homewares for country houses. Worlaby (n.) Tone of voice used by chauvinist men when telling a woman she can’t do something. Wyche (n.) Expression used by elderly Scottish women whenever they hear a sexual swear-word on the television. Wydal (n.) Person who measures more across the buttocks than in height.
1The feeling of aluminium foil against your fillings.2The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves.3A plastic packet containing shampoo, mustard, etc., which is impossible to open except by biting off the corners.4Generic term for anything that comes out in a gush, despite all your efforts to let it our carefully, e.g. flour into a white sauce, tomoto ketchup onto fish, a dog into the yard, and another naughty meaning that we can't put on the jacket.5The marks left on your bottom and thighs after you've been sitting and sunbathing in a whicker chair.6God knows what this means.7This is completely untrue and in fact utterly meaningless.

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